Innovative use of CLT instead of steel provided greater flexibility during hybrid historical/new construction renovations

Margulies Perruzzi (MP), one of New England’s most innovative architectural and interior design firms, announced today that it has utilized cross-laminated timber (CLT) to add two stories to an existing 1920’s era brick and beam building at 69 A Street in South Boston, creating a five-story 45,000 SF building which is a hybrid of historical and new construction. The firm navigated the complex permitting process on behalf of its client, and the building has been designed to accommodate either a single tenant or multiple tenants.

Originally the home of the Standard Rivet Company, the building was designed for industrial use with three floors and an unfinished basement. With some of the original windows – single pane with steel edging – still in place, Margulies Perruzzi was able to reference the original architecture to guide placement for building core volumes while maximizing window opening percentages. A long and narrow rectangle with 7,500 SF floor plates, the layout of the building presented a challenge from the start. The design team decided to add two floors and selected CLT for their construction, aligning with the industrial brick and beam nature of the building. The exterior skin of the new levels is a metal panel rainscreen system installed with exposed metal fasteners that speak to its original use. Leaving the CLT exposed on the upper floors creates a much more appealing exterior than standard steel construction. Designed to be on the lot line, Margulies Perruzzi arranged for setbacks to allow for additional light on the South side.

Cross-laminated timber is a processed timber product of superior strength and stability that offers unique new possibilities and unparalleled advantages in wood construction. Nordic X-Lam from Nordic Structures is made of at least three orthogonal layers of graded sawn lumber that are laminated by gluing with structural adhesives. Wood is five times lighter than concrete and 15 times lighter than steel so Margulies Perruzzi was able to retain the existing structure and it did not have to replace or reinforce the existing foundations before adding two stories. Additional benefits of CLT are the inherent fire resistance properties and a natural wood ceiling that can be left exposed to create a warm finished aesthetic.

Two new vertical stacks were introduced into the floorplate: the first is nestled in the middle of the building, with vertical circulation and a bathroom core; and the second, an egress stair, located in the back corner. Both stack elements doubled as seismic code elements without impacting the floorplate or building aesthetic.

The main entrance access is located off A Street next to a “vest-pocket” park and features interior elements that relate to the industrial nature of the building such as a custom reception desk with weathered zinc panels and blackened steel. The front half of the first floor looks out on A Street with large windows featuring a lowered sill for greater connectivity to the street. The fifth floor has a street-facing outdoor terrace accessible directly from the office space with views of the evolving West Broadway neighborhood and South Station skyline.

The project team for 69 A Street includes:


About Margulies Perruzzi

As one of New England’s top architectural and interior design firms, Margulies Perruzzi (MP) designs Workplace, Health+Science, and Real Estate projects that inspire and nurture human endeavor. More information may be found at

EndoPro Magazine cover story: If you are thinking about expanding, relocating or renovating your endoscopy center or department, there are several key space planning concepts, regulatory requirements, trends, options and features that should be considered before anyone puts pen to paper or sets a project budget.

Given the impact that the current pandemic has had on the ability for many endoscopists to see patients and the use of some endoscopy centers for surge capacity, pandemic resiliency should also be factored into the planning.


Click the cover image for the full article by John Fowler, AIA, EDAC, LEED AP, Healthcare Studio leader at Margulies Perruzzi.


MP’s Monica Audette AIA, LEED AP, Senior Project Manager, Associate Partner and Real Estate Studio leader is featured in Facilitiesnet- providing facilities professionals the education and information they need to successfully manage and operate their buildings.  “A big part of the decision to renovate a Class B building is the owner’s appetite for risk and how far they are willing to go to achieve a higher rate of return on their property.”

Read the full article here.


For more information and photos of 50 Staniford Street, property featured in this article, click here

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?” Download by clicking here.

We have news to report. The data is in on business trends for the annual Interior Design Rising Giants, the 100 largest firms after our top 100 Giants. However, there’s a catch: It’s 2020. Which means our entire world is in various stages of flux—actually, upheaval may be a better word. No one knows what will happen next week, let alone next year. So while these new numbers can give you a fine idea of what kind of year the Rising Giants had in 2019, all bets are off on guessing how the design industry and the economy overall will weather the rest of 2020 and beyond.

As the stay-at-home mandates are lifted, corporate America is evaluating how to maintain safety measures within their current office space. From rearranging furniture to implementing one-way traffic flow patterns, and providing additional cleaning supplies, tenants and landlords are looking at office spaces and office cultures like never before. But are corporate offices equipped with the right infrastructure to support these changes? More specifically, do our office spaces and buildings have the means to store hazardous materials in abundance? Alcohol Based Hand Sanitizers are often a Class III flammable liquid and their use and storage are regulated by the Massachusetts building code.

Local building and fire codes regulate the maximum quantity of hazardous materials allowed in a building. We’ve taken a closer look at the code implications of increasing hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies in office spaces and recommend developing a Hazardous Materials Management Plan (HMMP) (or update the existing plan) to incorporate any additional hand sanitizer and ensure compliance with these provisions. These plans are also critical to the local fire department and other emergency response teams as the plans will provide the necessary information for fire-fighting and emergency response operations. A chemical inventory including type and quantity of hazardous materials should be maintained by each tenant. We recommend landlords revisit lease agreements and consider adding language to address storage of hazardous materials and to define allowed quantities for each tenant space. Communication between tenants and landlords is critical to maintain compliance and life safety requirements for the building occupants.

Click the image below for the whitepaper by Caitlyn Angelini, P.E. of AKF and Jason Costello, AIA, EDAC, LEED AP of Margulies Perruzzi that breaks down requirements per the Massachusetts State Building Code, 9th edition 780 CMR (based on the 2015 International Building Code).

Alcohol-based hand sanitizer 101
Alcohol-based hand sanitizer 101


Jason B. Costello AIA, EDAC, is a Partner | Associate Principal and leads the Healthcare design practice at Margulies Perruzzi.

More information and articles published from the MP Healthcare studio posted regularly.

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?” Download by clicking here.

Across the country, we are seeing numerous changes at healthcare facilities as they reopen for elective and non-critical care while still addressing potential surge capacity issues related to COVID-19. One of the biggest difficulties is getting into and through these facilities while practicing social distancing and minimizing risk to patients and staff.

MP’s John Fowler, AIA, EDAC, LEED AP, is featured in Healthcare Design – Healthcare facilities are employing a variety of strategies and tactics, including technology, to overcome the challenges of reopening amid COVID-19. Read more here:

MP has a long-standing tradition of Friday afternoon “snacks” where the entire office gets together to socialize, discuss projects, decompress and sometimes even vent about the stressful days. Our “beer thirty” often continues well into the evening where the laughter from great conversations among colleagues is amplified with cold drinks and the waterfront view of the city skyline from our roof deck.

But what happens when the world shuts down and hanging out on a Friday is no longer an option? Well let me start by telling you, it isn’t the same as human interaction. Look at this photo of us from the spring, the beginning of Covid-19; we are all so naïve. In a daily effort to keep sane and maintain connections, I had virtual meet and greets, coffees, and face-times. Then we all got exhausted. As some of you may already know, I am a social person, and I was over it.

Zoom fatigue is real. What is the last thing any of us want to do at the end of a long week? Sit on another call. But sometimes it may surprise you that yet another call marking this long-standing tradition, turns out to be just the thing you needed that week to help get you through. So keep going. Keep snacking virtually; and keep playing cards against humanity, drinking games, Pictionary and trivia with your coworkers because a good laugh is worth everything right now.

The first “snack” back in person is going to be one for the books, and we have that to look forward to when we pop online Friday afternoons until then. Someday the pandemic will end, we will be back to normal, and as Dan Perruzzi puts it in our daily email check ins – we are one day closer to that.

Virtual Snack at Margulies Perruzzi
Virtual Snack at Margulies Perruzzi


Caitlin D. Greenwood, AIA, IIDA, Architect, Associate at Margulies Perruzzi. 

MP recently published a report: VOLUME 1: COVID-19 AND THE FUTURE OF THE WORKPLACE

View it here.

Bob Humenn, Director of Healthcare Strategy at Margulies Perruzzi, has spent more time at hospitals over the past few weeks than he’s spent at home. He is helping them increase the number of beds, create “pop-up” clinics, and set up testing sites. According to Bob, “it is humbling to see the dedication of healthcare workers putting their health and lives at risk every day. While you’re there, it makes you wish that you could do more.”

According to Bob, the Department of Public Health (DPH) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have been very accommodating, issuing blanket waivers to allow hospitals to create testing sites and pop-up clinics in non-clinical areas and to add beds in alternative locations such as recovery areas instead of private rooms. Bob has worked with Milford Regional Medical Center for twenty years and is one of the hospitals that Bob has assisted in addressing COVID-19 through the following strategic initiatives.

Emergency Department Patients
To handle an influx in emergency department patients with COVID-19 symptoms, Margulies Perruzzi worked with Hospital staff to create an Alternate Treatment Area (ATA) in the parking area directly below the Emergency Department (ED). Walk-in ED patients will be triaged at the entry vestibule for Covid-19 symptoms and if appropriate, they will be sent down to the ATA for testing and treatment. The ATA has twenty bays for treatment and space for portable x-ray. The goal is rapid assessment, testing, and discharge within an hour of arrival. Margulies Perruzzi provided guidance on patient flow, regulatory guidelines and design and the ATA was constructed by Consigli Construction using a modular wall system. Cubicle curtains are free-standing and created from electrical conduit for the frame and curtain.

Inpatient Beds
Guided by the directives issued by The Department of Public Health and CMS, Margulies Perruzzi worked with Milford Regional to develop a strategic plan for the anticipated surge of hospital patients. COVID-19 patients will be grouped in existing medical/surgical, progressive care and intensive care nursing units. If needed, non-COVID-19 ICU patients will be cared for in the PACU, using two bays to provide needed clearance between patients, while other non-COVID-19 patients will be cared for in alternate areas such as Infusion and Endoscopy.

Patients Requiring Post-Acute Rehabilitation
There may be patients that are recovering from COVID-19 and would normally be discharged to a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF). If the SNF is not able to admit a COVID-19 patient, MRMC is prepared to rehabilitate these patients. The Hospitalists, Nursing and Rehabilitation Services collaborated to develop a plan to manage patients requiring physical, occupational and speech therapies in order to maximize the patient’s abilities to move from hospital to home. Margulies Perruzzi worked with MRMC staff to develop options for temporary transitional care units for these patients. The main goal will be ensuring the patients continue to regain their strength in order to return to their baseline before discharge home.

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the design of health care facilities. The dynamic nature of the pandemic has required our teams to be flexible and highly creative in addressing the needs of our clients in support of those healthcare providers on the front lines. As we ride the flattened curve of infection our focus is shifting to the safe re-activation of the healthcare system to begin seeing non-emergency cases, primary care visits and elective procedures to a broad range of healthcare facilities that until recently have been prepared for COVID-19 patient over flow. Margulies Perruzzi is working to develop strategies utilizing infection control measures and design flexibility to address the complexities of reactivating the hospital in the coming weeks and to better position our community for future pandemics .

COVID-19 Pop-Ups
This space was designed for maximum flexibility to accommodate the changing needs of the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 Pop-Ups
*closer view* Space designed for maximum flexibility to accommodate the changing needs of COVID-19 pandemic.

More information and articles published from the MP Healthcare studio posted regularly.

Additionally, The AIA COVID-19 Task Force (including MP’s John Fowler) has published tools to assess and catalog the adaptive reuse of buildings as Alternative Care Sites. We are extremely grateful for all of the hard work and sacrifice healthcare professionals are putting in on the front lines of this pandemic and are looking for more ways to support them whenever we can.

MP recently published a report with survey results, “COVID-19 AND THE FUTURE OF THE WORKPLACE WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?” Download by clicking here.


The other night I had the opportunity to share with the architecture community some tools and recommendations on how to work remotely through a webinar hosted by the Boston Society of Architects (BSA). We were asked to participate as we’ve been incorporating remote working into our workflow for a number of years already so were fairly well prepared to transition our entire staff to remote working when the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated it.

We had initially set up a virtual private network (VPN) on our firewall to create a secure connection for people that needed flexibility to work from home when they had family obligations to attend to during the business day. When the winter of 2015 delivered back-to-back snowstorms every weekend, we increased access and encouraged more staff to connect and have productive days despite the snow-covered streets.

To ensure the security of our client’s project data, everything is stored on our network. When connecting in, the same security and virus protection software we use in the office is installed on the users’ home computer. Over the past couple weeks, we have had our staff test their home connections to ensure that if the time came to work remotely full-time, we would all be prepared. We scheduled a stress test on the system to track how much bandwidth was used to better understand any limits that could affect our productivity.

Along with the hardware testing, we started encouraging all staff to practice communicating internally with Skype for Business, even if the person was within talking distance. We selected Skype because we have about a dozen of our millennial staff who have been using it and they could help share their knowledge with others to facilitate the implementation and it had already been installed with our recent Office 365 upgrades.

Change is tough. Making major changes in how we work and the technology we use are especially tough when your staff encompasses several generations. We wanted to be cautious about making too many new moves when it is already a stressful time. Choosing platforms where staff could get help from others internally was intentional. While we have external IT support, now more than ever, it’s important to encourage supporting each other.

For the generation of staff (and clients) that prefer face-to-face connections, we increased our licenses so that video conferencing is available to anyone who wants to use it. Our internal message board has become an active place to share information on both what is working well and what has had some challenges. Where we have found gaps that needed a new format for remote working, we have started using new platforms. The underlying theme here is to be open to provide alternate solutions that support how people prefer to work and having open communication.

At the close of the webinar we were asked to share our key takeaways. We had covered lots of technical information, costs and comparisons of software and hardware, work methods, communication tools, but my takeaway was much simpler than all of that. Everyone at MP genuinely loves what they do, and we enjoy doing the work we do WITH each other. We need to reinforce these basic principles while we are working away from one another. We need to remind ourselves of the importance of this human connection. It is not just about being connected to share our work and collaborate with one another, but it is equally important to continue to share our lives with one another.

Cynthia Gibson Murphy AIA

Cynthia Gibson Murphy, AIA
Associate Partner |Senior Project Manager

Architecture Firms and Remote Work’ was a virtual program hosted by the Boston Society of Architects on March 17. The free program welcomed over 375 members of the architectural community from across the country. The recording of this program is available for viewing at